Renovating our house on Karpathos

When we bought our house on Karpathos in 2017, we didn't really change anything. However, now that we live there for a large part of the year and it is really our home instead of a holiday home, it was time for the major renovation.

The house was built in 2007 as a holiday home with wooden frames, single glazing, non-insulated and two small bathrooms. After the purchase (6 years ago) we replaced part of the window frames upstairs, applied new coating to the roof, removed the Greek bed for more space and painted the kitchen. For the holidays this was fine, but now that we are here most of the year, we really wanted this to be our place. So we opted for a major renovation! In this blog we will tell you how we arranged that. But first an impression of what it looked like:

Arranging an architect & contractor

Together with the house next door (Athina's parents) we have chosen to combine the renovation.

Together we carried out this project with an architect from Athens who lives on Karpathos in the summer (Sophia). With a major renovation with a number of changes, an architect must be involved for arranging permits and other paperwork.

Right from the start we had a good feeling with Sofia, we received a number of floor plans with possible practical changes to the house in order to use it optimally. Think of options for a large bathroom, the kitchen had to be given a different place and extra storage space.

Part of the terrace upstairs has been closed with sliding wall, so that the bedroom upstairs has become a lot larger. We have created an ensuite bathroom upstairs, which still feels separated with wooden beams and we are so happy with that change. That too was Sofia's idea

In addition to being an architect, Sophia was also the main contractor who hired all independently to carry out the work. For example, everyone from Athens came flying in/by boat except for the insulation/stucco work. Materials mainly came from Athens, because this is a lot cheaper. However, we literally bought the building materials such as stones and cement on the island.

Renovating a house on Karpathos Greece 1


In March 2 men from Athens came to remove all walls, fireplace, kitchen and bathrooms and emptied everything inside. Everything was thrown in big heaps and then carried down to the big-bags the old-fashioned way. Tip to ensure that you have enough big-bags during the renovation, at least 30 bags have been fully disposed of with us.

After emptying the house, the construction of the new walls immediately started. For example, we enlarged the bathroom and lowered part of the ceiling to place spotlights. The bathroom furniture and bookcase in the living room are made of concrete slabs.

In the meantime, the plumbers came and replaced and moved all the pipes for the extension of the shower on the top floor and made preparations for the solar panel boiler that will be placed on the roof. The shower and toilet were also immediately prepared in terms of construction and drain basin in concrete, so that the tilers can start immediately.

After the plumbers left, the electrician came to replace and move all the cabling. For example, we all have different locations for the sockets and lamps and a number of light switches have been changed to dimmable. You don't expect it (or did you ;)) but the houses were not grounded, 3 pins have been smashed into the ground at the meter cupboard that serve as grounding for the two houses.

Renovate a house on Karpathos Greece (8)
Isolation Greece Karpathos house renovation


The only work that we have outsourced locally is the insulation of the house. This work took more than 4 weeks to complete. It could have been faster, but working method on Karpathos is that they work for a number of days and then work on another job (without you knowing). We have chosen to insulate the outside of the house with Styrofoam over which stucco is finally applied to give it a neat finish. The wall has become 7 cm thicker from the outside.

Insulation helps enormously, in the summer it is nice and cool and in the winter you often do not have to use the heating during the day. We also opted for a wood-burning stove instead of a fireplace to effectively use the heat. The difference is very big, also lighting the fire has now become a piece of cake.

The renovation

After that, the construction of the house could actually begin, so to speak! The tilers who tiled both houses in a few days. Instead of skirting boards, we mounted a strip of tiles against the bottom of the wall. Later, one more tiler came back to mount a strip of tiles around the house (helps against protection of insects and water) and mounted the wall tiles in the kitchen.

The walls of the bathroom and bathroom furniture are not tiled but are worked with a concrete look. Something of 5 layers were applied to waterproof it and to create the beautiful look we had in mind. Someone special had come to the island to add the dark shades of color in it.

The kitchens are literally tailor-made in the house, we already found it so strange that the color could still be passed on 3 weeks before delivery. We opted for a U-shaped kitchen to create extra workspace and clear separation with the seating area. Because everything could be made to measure, the wall cabinets extend up to and including the ceiling for as much space as possible.

The longest delivery time were the aluminum frames and doors that really complete the houses. Wood deteriorates quickly here due to the sun and sea air and wanted to solve a sustainable solution with little maintenance. In addition, the house is now even better insulated and you really do not hear anything when the windows are closed. An insect net is mounted for everything, so that we can always open the windows, without going crazy with insects.

Finally, both the plumber and the electrician came by to finish the last things, such as the kitchen taps, shower, sockets and lamps. This is how the architect came up with the idea of mounting LEDs at the bottom of the kitchen, and the result is impressive!

We removed the water tank that was on the roof. Sometimes the pressure of supply of water falls away from the municipality, so that the tank on the roof was not filled. In addition, the only pressure was the water from the tank (1000L). To create constant pressure we opted for a 2500L joint water tank behind the house with a water pump to create constant pressure. You will notice this difference immediately!

Finally, of course, change the furniture and inventory to practically deal with the house. We have already written an interesting blog about where we got all this from. Read here how we shop online.

Apart from some small finishing touches, we are very satisfied with how the renovation went. The renovation took a total of 3.5 months, which was only 2 weeks longer than planned. We only replaced a water tap because it started to rust due to poor water quality. Tip not to cut corners on this and buy a really good GROHE, it has real protection on the inside.

We are very happy with how everything went and with the end result. Now we can truly have a place to unwind and enjoy what this beautiful island has to offer.

The result (video)


Kalimera! We are Athina & Vincent. A Dutch couple who have been living on Karpathos for a few years. On this blog we share our stories and the most beautiful places of the island with you!

Support ons!

We hope you like our free content and tips! We would love it if you would support our work. Efcharistó!

The 1st e-book about Karpathos

Karpathos travel guide

Our digital guide contains 100 pages of all the information you need if you are planning a holiday to Karpathos. From practical information to the most beautiful beaches and tastiest restaurants!

Karpathos travel guide - The Karpathos guide product images (3)

I'm sure you'll like this too!

Online shopping if you live on Karpathos

Online shopping if you live on Karpathos

In the Netherlands we were so used to it. Need something quickly? Need a Christmas present? Just google it and you could order it online. Buy books? And everything is always at home within 1-4 days. Now that we live on an island, it all goes just a bit...

Getting married on Karpathos, Greece

Getting married on Karpathos, Greece

Unfortunately, it is already over, but we look back on a beautiful wedding on 'our' island. Because how cool is it to get married on Karpathos in front of your best friends? September 10, 2022 was the big day & In this blog we will tell you more about it. How did you look...

Buying a house abroad: that's how we did it!

Buying a house abroad: that's how we did it!

I regularly get the question "may I ask how you bought a house on Karpathos?". Logical too, it is of course special to buy a house abroad, especially at our age. Yet we do not see buying a house abroad as a...

1 Comment

  1. Great


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.